The debate surrounding Triple J’s influence on the Australian music scene has intensified this week following a Fairfax article that investigated claims that bands were altering their sound to secure airplay on the ABC youth broadcaster with some musicians speaking out against their practices. The station hit back with Station Manager Chris Scaddan refuting claims that the station has a bias towards particular kinds of music, or that artists Triple J play favourites.
James Young, owner of Melbourne’s Cherry Bar, former Program Manager at RRR, a man who has worked within the national music landscape for decades, and a taxpaying citizen, weighs in on what he deems to be “healthy and overdue scrutiny” of the national broadcaster.
I am not Triple J’s target audience; I’m too old, although I’m considerably younger than its Program Manager Richard Kingsmill. I know a bit about music. I was the Program Manager of RRR for three years and a volunteer presenter for 14 years. I co-own two indie music labels, manage bands, book venues, own and run music festivals and own Cherry Bar, blah blah blah. I’m also a taxpayer, as well as a music lover and I feel entitled to an opinion on Triple J.
Triple J remains massively influential. As a local act, to get on major music festivals or score an international support or tour interstate and have people turn up, you must be played on the station. Without Triple J support most bands will struggle to survive, and this is exactly why it is imperative that Triple J supports all types of local talent.
In my opinion Triple J has crawled up its own arse favouring skip-hop music (sorry, I just threw up a bit in mouth) and internationals and has turned its back on Oz pub rock, the defining sound of Australia.
If ‘My Pal’ by God was released today, there’s no way Triple J would play it.
The station has fallen into the trap of chasing success and is competing with NOVA, etc. for ratings, at the expense of its core agenda, to support a diverse range of local artists.
I book over 1,100 different locals acts a year at Cherry Bar. Have done for over five years now. I am fucked if I know how you get Triple J to play a quality rock song from Melbourne.
My Dynamite, King Parrot, Airbourne, Bitter Sweet Kicks, King Of The North, Dead City Ruins, Sheriff, Archer, Palace Of The King, The Kashmere Club, My Left Boot, Matt Sonic & The High Times, A Gazillion Angry Mexicans, and The Harlots are all asking themselves the same question.
Don’t tell me they have Unearthed, ‘cos that digital arm is just an excuse they use to fob off little bands from their lighthouse station, the one that actually makes a difference.
I love The Black Keys, but they don’t need taxpayer funded radio support, neither does Alt-J.
The station say they’re “looking for quality music”, I say bull-fucking shit they are. They’re sitting in their air-conditioned office taking meeting with major label reps who are kissing their arse and taking them through their weekly release schedule over cafe lattes.
You wanna find quality music Richard Kingsmill and co.? Get out to gigs, every night of the week. That’s where you find the talent and the dedication that deserves to be rewarded, rather than major label ukulele playing hipsters from another country.
Sadly, the major labels here have become mere international artist distribution points with no agenda to foster local talent. Worse still, Triple J has become a commercially focused Major Label puppet, notwithstanding their irrelevant step-child, the Unearthed Digital off-shoot.
Stop being successful and start being accountable. It’s time for change. It’s time for Triple J to play much more local music from all genres.
But, if you’re not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. I have been inspired by your lack of respect and support of Oz pub rock. Thank you Triple J. Cherry Bar Radio is coming.